Steven Allen Cadwell, 69, MNFF participant, OVUHS graduate
CONCORD, Mass. — Steven Allen Cadwell died peacefully at home in Concord, Mass., the morning of Aug. 29, 2019. Steve was born on Oct. 1, 1950, to John and Mary Cadwell, the second of six sons, and was raised on the family farm in Pittsford, Vt.
Steve graduated from Otter Valley Union High School and Amherst College, later earning a Master/s of Social Work from the University of Texas in Austin and a Ph.D. of Social Work from Smith College in Northampton, Mass.
Steve had a forty-year career in social work including an important psychotherapy practice in Boston focusing on the LGBTQ community. As he wrote, “Psychotherapeutic theory and technique have evolved to appreciate the fundamental power of relationship in our development and healing. I’ve studied and written on gender, sexuality and shame — themes which are both specific to my gay male clients and also are resonant universal themes. I empower all my clients (gay and otherwise) to discover their own power to be different, to claim their pride in their difference in order to make a difference in the order of things.”
An early activist during the AIDS epidemic, Steve counseled caregivers and fellow therapists. He also co-edited and contributed a chapter to the book “Therapists on the Front Line: Psychotherapy with Gay Men in the Age of Aids,” (American Psychiatric Press), the first book addressing issues of, and strategies for, therapists working with gay men during the terrifying early years of the epidemic.
Steve taught group psychotherapy at Boston University School of Social Work and Harvard Medical School and was a member of numerous psychotherapy groups. For his contributions, Steve received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy.
Steve’s tireless energy included using art to communicate and connect: two collections of poetry, an autobiographical performance “Wild and Precious,” which he presented at the film of “Wild and Precious” at Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival and arranged its distribution through Juno Films. He also provided original music for the film, and a series of sculptures created from beach-found objet trouvé that embodied the colorful connections for which he was known.
His was an inspired life of courage and compassion. At a time when gay men were shunned, Steve declared himself and counseled his peers. At a time when marriages often floundered, Steve built a family with his beloved Joseph Levine and son Isaac (and mercurial pooch Lola.) And, when diagnosed with glioblastoma, Steve swam daily, completed his second poetry collection entitled “poeMEMoir: Hope Springs Internal, and Throughout.” Steve gained strength from nature, communities, and love’s connection to all things. He is missed but his example and memory live.
Steve is survived by his partner Joe Levine and son Isaac; his brothers Ashley, of Weybridge, Vt., Michael, Jared, Alden, and Jason and their spouses Louise, Jane, Katherine, and Deb and their extended families; and his mother-in-law Carol Levine, brother-in-law Daniel Levine and sister-in-law Maria Levine and their sons Elias and Max.
Joe, Isaac, and the Cadwells and Levines are grateful for the counsel and expertise of Dr. John Dubois and Dr. Henry Friedman who extended Steve’s stay on earth. We are also grateful to the many caregivers of Embrace Health Care and Nashoba Nursing Services and Hospice who allowed Steve’s departure to be in love and grace with family at home.
Friends and family are invited to gather in Steve’s memory at 1 p.m. on Oct. 19, at the Cadwell Farm on Elm Street in Pittsford, Vt. Please dress warmly.
In the spirit of Steve, in lieu of flowers please send donations to Mil Milagros (milmilagros.org/).◊